Today marks the launch of a new website sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The website, “Love One Another: A Discussion on Same-Sex Attraction,”
is a collection of conversations; conversations with Church leaders, conversations with Church members who are attracted to people of the same sex, and conversations with the loved ones of gay spouses, children, or grandchildren who are dealing with the effects of same-sex attraction in their own lives. Source
Noting that the website does not offer a comprehensive explanation of every concern related to this issue, it nevertheless “does reflect the feelings of Church leaders as to how we should treat each other as part of the human family.”
Reporting on this endeavor, Mormon Newsroom noted,
Church apostle Elder Quentin L. Cook stresses that Latter-day Saints, who devote their lives to following Jesus Christ’s teachings, should be an example to the world of expressing love and hope for those with same-gender attraction.
“As a church, nobody should be more loving and compassionate,” Elder Cook said. “Let us be at the forefront in terms of expressing love, compassion and outreach. Let’s not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle as a result of their feelings about their own gender.” Source
This new website is careful to note that the Mormon Church’s official position on same-sex attraction has not changed, but that the purpose of this campaign is to aid Mormons in how they treat others who may experience homosexual attraction:
There is no change in the Church’s position of what is morally right. But what is changing — and what needs to change — is to help Church members respond sensitively and thoughtfully when they encounter same-sex attraction in their own families, among other Church members, or elsewhere. Source
Some are reporting, however, that the church has modified its position in that it no longer maintains that homosexuality is a choice. The following is stated on this new website:
The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. Source
However, in 1998, “prophet and president” of the LDS, the late Gordon B. Hinckley, stated the following when asked about the Mormon Church’s stance on homosexuality:
People inquire about our position on those who consider themselves so-called gays and lesbians. My response is that we love them as sons and daughters of God. They may have certain inclinations which are powerful and which may be difficult to control. Most people have inclinations of one kind or another at various times. If they do not act upon these inclinations, then they can go forward as do all other members of the Church. If they violate the law of chastity and the moral standards of the Church, then they are subject to the discipline of the Church, just as others are.
Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign , Nov. 1998, 71.
Hinckley’s words regarding the “powerful inclinations” experienced by homosexuals seem to suggest that he may have believed that those proclivities were not something that could be chosen. Thus, it appears as though perhaps the LDS Church has not changed its stance as much as some would like to believe.
It may be true that a man cannot choose what it is that tempts him as opposed to what may tempt his neighbor. How one responds to that temptation is critical, and the response does not have to be acted out in order to be seen as sin in the eyes of God.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declared,
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matt. 5:27–28
Therefore, Christ Himself proclaimed that it is not merely a man’s outward actions that may condemn him, but the thoughts of his mind and the intent of his heart. Christianity would thus affirm that same-sex attraction, or any sin, that is entertained even in the mind, is nevertheless a sin before God and requires repentance. To maintain physical purity alone is not enough, one also must guard his heart and mind from engaging in sin and entertaining evil desires.
Of course, CRN has thoroughly demonstrated that Mormonism stands in grave contradiction and opposition to the orthodox Christian faith. It seems to be a growing trend for various groups and leaders to come forward with a softened stance toward homosexuality. In fact, the words of the LDS Church that “the attraction itself is not a sin but acting on it is” are reminiscent of Rick Warren’s recent remarks in interviews with both Piers Morgan and the Huffington Post’s Marc Lamont Hill.
As public support for the homosexual lifestyle increases, true Christians will find themselves living among a vivid illustration of the depravity written of by the Apostle Paul in Romans 1. So how does the believer react? By sharing the Gospel, the whole Gospel, from man’s sin to God’s righteous wrath and condemnation, to the sinless life, atoning sacrifice and glorious resurrection of Christ. From repentance to faith and in spite of inevitable persecution and resistance, the Christian, who is a citizen of a better kingdom, must declare all that Christ has commanded.